What Is Raw Footage? | DeliBytes 50

What is raw footage?

If you’ve hired us to shoot a project for you and we’re not editing it, we’re gonna be supplying you with raw footage. That is the files that we’ve pulled directly out of the camera, done absolutely nothing to, and just handed directly over to you.

If you haven’t seen raw footage before, or you’re somewhat inexperienced with it, here are a few things about what raw footage is and what to expect:

It’s not a gourmet steak!

First thing to remember is that raw footage is not a finely cooked steak, it’s a giant slab of beef.

It’s really just the original piece of marble that you’re chipping down from, and it’s not refined at all, and it might not exactly be what you expect.

Raw footage can be a whole variety of different files, depending on what the camera has been used to shoot. That means that most of those files probably won’t be able to be played back in a regular video playback app that you have on your phone or your computer.

A lot raw camera files are quite specific, and some of them are massive, so you’ll find on most standard consumer computers, you won’t actually be able to play lot of them back without professional software. And if you do get it to play, it’ll likely play back strangely with errors.

It’s not for average Joe,

Raw footage is meant to go straight into editing software and not be reviewed by any average Joe with a computer.

Keep this in mind if you want to review it. You’ll need to have the right tech and somebody guiding you through it, hand-in-hand.

If you’ve filmed a visual project without a lot of interviews you need to remember that a professional editor is likely to ever only use about 5% of the footage you have.

This means 95% of what is being shot is gonna be garbage.

And it might freak you out.

Sometimes, people will watch raw footage back and freak out. They think that they’ve got this terrible video and they don’t know what to do with it.

Keep in mind that the cameraman, whenever he’s lined up a shot that he wants to get, has to:

  • steady the camera,
  • start rolling,
  • find focus,
  • adjust the iris, and
  • do a whole bunch of other stuff….

And all that to get only two or three seconds of good footage that they’re gonna pick out!

This means there will be a lot of  trash on either side for that little golden nugget that’s actually gonna end up in the edit.

Don’t freak out if you don’t think the quality is high enough.

If things are wobbly or don’t seem as professional as you would imagine, that’s fine, because raw footage is raw. It’s little bits and pieces that are getting picked out.

If you do get your raw footage back, and you’re the one reviewing it, and it all seems a bit scary and beneath the standards that you have, keep in mind that raw footage is for a trained editor.

So bring in a professional editor

Raw footage should always be given to somebody who knows exactly what they’re doing.

And remember:

  • raw footage is basic colour and image information
  • contrast, saturation, and colour settings are all added at the very end of an edit, in the colour grade, and
  • a whole bunch of other technical stuff

Will all be taken care of by a trained editor who won’t break a sweat!


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